21-May-2010 9:09 AM

British Airways union wins appeal; strikes from 24-May-2010

British Airways union, Unite, announced (20-May-2010) the court of appeal has overturned an injunction stopping the cabin crew strike. The court ruled that Unite’s failure to issue a breakdown of ballot results, which had resulted in the injunction on the 17-May-2010 strike, was not enough to invalidate the ballot (Bloomberg/Reuters, 20-May-2010). The union now plans (20-May-2010) to strike for five days from 24-May-2010, as previously notified. It stated BA has already been notified of further strike action - in five-day blocks from 30-May-2010 and 05-Jun-2010 - should there be no settlement to the dispute. [more - appeal announcement] [more - strike announcement]

  • British Airways response: The carrier stated (20-May-2010) it is very disappointed for its customers that Unite’s appeal has been upheld and that the union intends to go ahead with its unjustified and pointless strikes. It stated it is confident thousands of cabin crew will ignore Unite’s call and work over the period. [more - ruling announcement
  • Strike schedule: BA plans (20-May-2010) to operate all flights from London Gatwick and London City airports during the initial strike period. At London Heathrow Airport, it intends to operate more than 60% of long-haul flights and more than 50% of short-haul flights  and will add to this schedule where possible. The airline will operate most of its revised short-haul schedule at Heathrow using its own aircraft and cabin crew, but will supplement its schedule by leasing up to eight aircraft with pilots and cabin crews from other UK or European airlines. All dedicated cargo freighter services continue to operate as normal. Flights operated by subsidiary OpenSkies, between Paris and New York and Paris and Washington, will operate as normal. Flights operated by franchise partners (Comair in South Africa and Sun Air in Scandinavia) will operate as normal. Flights operated by other carriers (including oneworld partners) which have a BA codeshare flight number will operate as normal. [more - schedule]
  • At this stage, BA expects to fly more than 70% of customers who hold a booking for between 24-May-2010 and 28-May-2010. This equates to more than 60,000 customers each day. Many thousands more will be able to use seats secured on more than 30 other airlines to reach their destination, if they still wish to travel or be rebooked onto an alternative BA flight departing within the next 355 days. Refunds are also available for customers whose flights have been cancelled.

Unite: "We are delighted to have won today. Justice has been secured. Had it not been, the right to strike would now be hanging by a thread. BA must now accept that negotiation not litigation is the only way to secure the settlement we all want. However, further strikes will be unavoidable if the company does not immediately work with us to address the outstanding issues. This is a pause for peace. Willie Walsh must make the most of it ... British Airways management now has a chance over the next three days to address our outstanding concerns and seize the possibility for industrial peace. We hope it has the wisdom to do so. Failing that, cabin crew will once more be taking industrial action with our full support," Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretary. Source: Unite, 20-May-2010.

British Airways: "Unite’s strikes have failed twice and they will fail again ... We have put forward a very fair offer that addresses the concerns Unite has raised over the last 15 months. We believe cabin crew would accept it if it was put to them in a fair and secret ballot," Company Statement. Source: British Airways, 20-May-2010.

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